Brain Surgery on Twitter

eweber   March 23, 2009   6 Comments

Medical students all over the world saw it and you can watch it here –  interactive brain surgery on Twitter. The surgeons, Dr. Steven Kalkanis and Kost Elisevich demonstrated how this media-medical marriage is the new social media way to communicate brain facts – without the medical jargon, and in a way that followers can ask. Do you agree?

Detroit’s Medical School took a risk to use Twitter in ways that link brain science and new media, while the world watched on – amazed at the interest and usefulness. What implications will this breakthrough hold  for brain surgeon’s operations and for Twittering in future? Does the Twitter experiment allow a fresh window into doctor’s decision making – or does it cross the lines of medical ethics?

Drs. Steven Kalkanis  said about his updates on Twitter’s marriage of medicine and media that it’s always better to hold these things in the open. When you think about it, why should brain surgery be hidden in the first place?

6 thoughts on “Brain Surgery on Twitter

  1. Jeanne Dininni


    This is amazing but not really surprising in this age of Internet and social media focus (or frenzy). While I can see its incredible benefit to medical students and/or other medical professionals, questions as to the potential distraction and fracturing of the surgeons’ attention during a serious operation do come to mind. Even if the medical team members actually involved in the surgery at the moment aren’t the ones responding to questions on Twitter (which would, of course, go without saying), the preoccupation of those who are responding with the activity of responding could potentially prevent them from noticing something that could be critical to the patient’s survival or well-being, affecting the successful outcome of the operation, as they fail to report such observations to the attending surgeon.

    During brain surgery, questions fueled by mere curiosity in non-medical personnel simply aren’t important enough to monopolize the attention of a member of the medical team (which I’d imagine would account for the majority of the questions received during the operation shown in this video).

    To my mind, it isn’t the airing of the surgery itself that’s potentially ethically troublesome but more the real-time nature of the surgeons’ responses and its possible effect on the surgery’s outcome.

    Just a few thoughts on a complex issue.


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  3. Pingback: Twitter Brain Surgery? How One Hospital Uses Social Media | linkfeedr

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